Staff Ed: School spirit hindered by scheduling conflicts

November 5, 2008 — by Neyha Bhat, Alicia Lee, Alex Sclavos

Homecoming is the one bright week during the beginning of the school year when students and staff alike look forward to lunchtime performances and a decorated campus. This year, however, what should have been a fun-filled week consumed with decorating and Quad Day performances was filled with exams and projects to round out the first grading period, which ended Oct. 3.

Homecoming has often been one of the last weeks of October, depending on the football schedule. This year, however, the Los Gatos- Saratoga game fell one of those Fridays. This game is usually well anticipated, but spending the week of Homecoming leading up to a game that The Falcons would most likely loser would have killed any spirit there was to begin with. Though the early timing of Homecoming could not be avoided, teachers should have found a way to relieve students’ stress during what is typically supposed to be a week focused on school spirit, not academics.

Because this grading period is the last chance students have to drop a class, many teachers chose to give exams in order to enter a grade for students who were considering switching classes. The teachers in AP or Honors level classes, where students need to see their grades to make a decision on whether to drop, should have tested earlier, say the week before. Other teachers should have postponed their tests until a later date, since the Aeries grading system allows parents to be updated on their child’s process even after the grading period has ended. Some teachers, however, were understanding and did not test this particular week.

The tests during Homecoming week were not only more in number, but had a higher level of stress. Since these tests would determine their six-week grades, students were pressured to study harder, which hampered their participation in Homecoming events and preparations. Decorations suffered from a lack of attendance, while Quad Days were lackluster because students worried about upcoming tests rather than enjoying the performances. If testing had occurred at other times, the spirit of this week could have been preserved.

This already stressful week was made even worse by the SATs, which took place on Saturday, Oct. 4. Students who would have normally enjoyed a Friday night at the football game cheering for the home team were instead at their homes, studying formulas and strategies for the SAT. This especially affected the senior class, as it was their last time to score well before early college applications were due.

The school seems to have forgotten that Homecoming is a time-honored tradition that should be respected. Instead of loading up students with homework and tests, teachers should promote participation and attendance in Homecoming-related events. After all, it is late night Homecoming skit practices and countless hours spent on decorations that truly bring classes together and bolster school spirit, making the school better for everyone.

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